Rachel Chaney scored a pair of first-half goals, sparking Western Michigan University to a 5-0 victory over the Bowling Green State University women's soccer team Sunday afternoon (Oct. 6). The Mid-American Conference match was held at Cochrane Field.
With the victory, the Broncos improve to 6-3-2 overall, and Western remains unbeaten in the MAC with a 4-0-0 league ledger. The Falcons drop to 0-10-0 and 0-4-0, respectively.
Gina Maddi, Megan Ross and Ariana Donahue also scored for the Broncos. Donahue had a three-point day, assisting on the Ross goal before scoring herself.
Michelle Watson and Kaitlyn Collin each made one save in goal for the visitors. Watson played the first 65-plus minutes before giving way to Collin.
For the Falcons, redshirt freshman Lauren Cadel made four saves in the first half, while true freshman Michelle Denley played the second half and had six saves.
The Cochrane Field pitch was wet after the large amount of rain that had fallen in the Bowling Green area on Saturday as well as Sunday morning. But, the rain was never more than a light drizzle during the opening half, and the precipitation had subsided by halftime.
By that point, however, the Broncos held a multiple-goal lead over the home side. Western outshot the Falcons by an 11-0 advantage in the opening half, and the visitors had a 21-7 margin in that department on the day.
Early on, it looked like the Falcons might have the first scoring chance. Senior Kaitlyn Tobin played a ball out wide to Taylor Bucaro. The freshman made a quick move to create space, and played a crossing ball into the box. The ball, however, just missed connecting with a pair of Falcons, senior Jenny Fowler and sophomore Haley Parkinson, who had ventured into the penalty area.
Moments after that sequence, the Broncos were on the board. The Falcons were whistled for a foul, and Chaney took the ensuing free kick from just outside the box, roughly 25 or 30 yards from goal. Her kick deflected off of a body in the penalty area, and trickled into the right corner of the net. Cadel, with her momentum taking her the other way, could not change direction in time to reach the ball after the deflection, and WMU had the lead at the 7:18 mark.
After a BGSU giveaway near midfield, Cadel made a save on Chaney with 19 minutes gone, but the Broncos would double their lead midway through the period. Aubrey Sudomier fired a short diagonal ball from the right side, forcing the BG 'keeper to make a diving stop. Cadel could not grab the rebound on the wet turf, however, and it rolled along the goalmouth. Chaney was the first to reach it, and knocked it home for a two-goal margin.
The visitors' third goal came after Hope Spangler played a ball out wide for Mackenzie Barber. Barber's cross from the left side of the pitch found Maddi in the center of the 18-yard box, and the Bronco striker chest-trapped the ball, took a quick touch and fired a shot into the top of the net at the 35:56 mark.
Cadel kept the Broncos from increasing that lead before halftime, making a save on a header by Taylor Pirrone late in the period.
In the second half, the first of Denley's six saves was an impressive one, to say the least. Off of a corner kick, Ali Russo got a great deal of force behind a header, but the Falcon freshman stopped the hard shot, then grabbed a follow-up try by Kylie Nylen.
Denley made another impressive save, this time against Barber, in the 56th minute of play. A pass by Chaney put Barber through all alone as she headed into the box. Barber attempted to slide the ball past Denley toward the far post, but the BG 'keeper blocked the shot with a sliding effort.
Moments later, though, Donahue's pass put Ross in all alone, and Ross was able to poke the ball past the charging Denley, toward the end line on the right side of the pitch. Ross did a nice job to slide the ball into the vacated net from that bad angle.
The Falcons won a corner kick in the 61st minute, after a long shot by senior Madeline Wideman was blocked out of play. Off of that corner, the ball was knocked out of the box by a Bronco defender onto the boot of Tobin, but her hard shot sailed high.
Two minutes later, Denley made another impressive save, this time thwarting a semi-breakaway chance by Olivia Vollmers. But, with 18:33 to go, Donahue completed the scoring for the visitors. Her goal came off of a deflected clearance attempt, after the Falcons failed to get the ball out of the area. Off of that scramble, and with the BG goal open, Donahue hit a one-timer that capped the scoring.
Perhaps the Falcons' best chance of the day came with just over 15 minutes to go. A long ball by redshirt junior Kylie Briem found freshman Haley Malaczewski near the top of the box. With a defender draped all over her, Malaczewski made several moves to create some space, and fired a shot that forced Collin into a diving stop.
Off of a corner kick by senior Ivi Casagrande with six minutes left, freshman Melissa Needham rose above all of the other players in the box and hit a header toward goal. But, the ball went just over the bar.
A total of 18 players saw action for the Falcons, with each of them playing at least 34 minutes. Fourteen BGSU players were on the pitch for at least 45 minutes on the afternoon, with defenders Alyssa Carmack and Kaylee Draper the lone Falcons to play all 90 minutes on Sunday.
BGSU's season-long, four-match homestand continues next weekend, as the Falcons face Northern Illinois University on Friday night (Oct. 11) before meeting Toledo next Sunday (Oct. 13).